1. ESPN ranks Bills 2020 Draft class ninth-best in the league
The Bills got a lot of production out of their 2020 Draft class and that's without selecting a player in the first round. A.J. Epenesa, Zack Moss, Gabriel Davis, Tyler Bass and Dane Jackson had impressive seasons that they will try to build off of next year. PFF's ESPN Insider went through and ranked how productive every team’s draft class was and the Bills landed inside the Top 10 at number nine.
#9. Buffalo Bills
Why they're ranked here: The Bills were without a 2020 first-round pick, and defensive end A.J. Epenesa -- the team's top selection in the draft -- generated PFF WAR below expectation. And yet, Buffalo claims a top-10 spot. That's due in large part to running back Zack Moss (No. 86 overall), wide receiver Gabriel Davis (No. 128 overall) and cornerback Dane Jackson (No. 239 overall) producing well above expectation relative to their respective draft slots.
How their top pick fared: Epenesa struggled in run defense, posting a poor 50.4 grade across 130 such snaps. His pass-rushing output also left a lot to be desired. He recorded a 67.1 pass-rushing grade in 2020, with half of his 20 pressures being charted as unblocked or cleanup.
Best value pick: While Davis produced inconsistently from game to game, there were a handful of times this season where the fourth-rounder looked like anything but a Day 3 selection. He had three single-game grades above 84.0, joining Minnesota's Justin Jefferson as the only first-year receivers to accomplish that feat. Davis also ranked in the top three among rookies in 20-plus yard receptions (11).
2. Marc Ross saw the playmaking ability of Josh Allen in his rookie season
Former front office executive and NFL Network analyst Marc Ross was on One Bills Live last week and one of the things he talked about was the young quarterbacks around the league and when a team should know when it's time to move on. With lots of quarterbacks expected to be on the move this offseason, Ross stated that you can see if a quarterback has that playmaking ability even through any early struggles they may have. He saw that ability in Josh Allen during his first season and isn't surprised that he thrived with the addition of Stefon Diggs this season.
"I think with quarterbacks, you can always see something there," Ross said. "You can see this even with Josh when he struggled early. To me, you could just see there was something there that kind of kept going and going and going and there was that playmaking element that he had despite the tossing the ball behind him or the interceptions he had. But there was still that gravitas and that moxie that he had that you thought you could develop. … Now with Josh, when you guys brought in Stefon Diggs in there, it did help but he had already shown enough to say okay, he has this in him, this will just help him out."
3. Brandon Beane's approach to re-signing players this offseason
This is the latest the Bills have started to prepare for the offseason in a while, but they aren't complaining about the team's deep postseason run. With March 17 being the official date of the start of free agency and the new league year, there is a month and a half before the free agency frenzy. But as we've seen in years past, front offices around the league don't wait for that date to start getting things in order. Brandon Beane was on WGR 550 Thursday morning and talked about his approach to re-signing players this offseason and the different ways that the players go about it.
"I think we'll make an attempt," Beane stated. "Now there's different theories, some guys just want to get to a certain number, or their agents feel like if you can get here everybody's happy and you can get it done. But some guys this close, they're like 'hey I'm a month away, I've waited this long I just want to at least see what my opportunities would be.' And then, sometimes they'll just take the highest dollar and sometimes guys will say 'hey if we think this is our market out there this is what we've got from these teams if you can match it, our preference is Buffalo.' And then it's on us to see if we can make it happen on our end."